If you have ever wanted to put a bunch of electronics into a box together, or make a custom control panel this instructable might help. I will show you how I mounted and wired electronics inside an electrical box as well as how I mounted buttons, switches, and connectors on the outside of the box.
All of this can be done with a simple outdoor electrical box from a hardware store. These are great because they have lots of thick yet soft plastic thats easy to work with and they come in many sizes. In this example I use a 8"x8"x4" box.
You can do all of this with a standard dremel tool but a few other tools will make it easier... so here is a basic tool list.
- Dremel or other rotary tool
- Spray adhesive (3m super 77 recommended, other glue could be used)
- Blue Painters tape (3m recommended)
- Metal or plastic stand-offs for mounting circuit boards
- Any electronic components for your project
- Any wires, sockets, or connectors needed for your project
- Drill Press (highly recommended)
- Printer (to print template)
- Gorilla Glue (good for some connectors that need to be glued)
All of this stuff should already be in your garage, if not you can find it all at the hardware store.
I'm building a box to hold a fermentation controller for beer. Here is a video of the finished working box.
OK so lets get started.
Step 1: Outside of the Enclosure
The first thing you should do is to lay out all of the electronics you want to put into the enclosure and all of the connectors and buttons you want to mount outside the enclosure in order to find the best layout and fit.
I would recommend using calipers and Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to measure then draw accurate pictures or templates of how your parts will be laid out. Spend time in the planning phase to avoid problems later in the building phase. The enclosure is pretty cheap but if you make a layout mistake you will have to start over.
Here are some examples of my templates made with Illustrator and laying out the actual parts inside of the box. Remember to think about what devices will need to be connected and leave enough room for cables and connectors to fit.